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Additional Research Coming Soon
With the release of additional data points this winter, we’ll be kicking off the new industry research project we announced at RECON. If you’re able to share your data for future research projects (or even just maybe interested!) please fill out this form and you’ll receive a survey by email later this month.
And a huge thank you to everyone who continually shares directory updates with us, and to the many folks who have already filled out the form linked above!
Today Adobe Flash is officially dead, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t take a moment to celebrate what Flash meant in the history of escape games.
As a community, we often recognize the television shows like Legends of the Hidden Temple and The Crystal Maze as well as the early 1990s video games such as Myst, The 7th Guest, or the catalogue of material put out by companies like LucasArts and Sierra Entertainment, that paved the way for escape rooms. However, there was a massive chapter in between all of those and what we came to recognize as real-life escape games.
A Little History
In the pre-iPhone days, Adobe Flash was the go-to toolkit for amateur game designers. It was easy to learn, well supported, and you could make everything from animations to actual games.
In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Flash was the beating heart of the indie game scene (not that I can recall anyone calling it that). Flash became this weird behemoth of a platform that was serving enterprise needs and independent creators. It was resource intensive, but it was what we had.
One game genre that was relatively easy to get started in was the point-and-click adventure genre. Images and animations were generally static, and the interactions were straightforward. Creators told all sorts of stories, but over time one sub-genre that emerged was known as “escape the room,” a term that originated with Mystery Of Time And Space (MOTAS).
Before escape rooms were escape rooms, they were Flash video games.
Flash has been on life support for a long time. Steve Jobs effectively killed it when he disallowed it on the iPhone, but by that point it was on borrowed time. Honestly, it borrowed a lot more time than I ever expected it would.
Flash had a good run. I wish that Adobe would have open-sourced it back in 2011. Maybe it would have had a fighting chance if a community that understood it could have improved upon it.
Tragically, with Flash dying out, we lose a lot of escape the room games. Most of them might not have been special, but some truly were, and they are all part of the history escape rooms. A history that will be largely forgotten.
If you have a favorite, please share it in the comments, or better yet, a video of a playthrough if you can find it.
REA writer Sarah Willson is so good at writing in “REA voice” that most people don’t realize when a piece is authored by her. Sometimes I feel like she writes in our voice better than we do.
A few weeks back, Sarah pointed her writing talents in a completely different direction when she appeared on Escape This Podcast.
This season Dani & Bill of Escape This Podcast have flipped the script: instead of Dani writing the episodes and the guests playing her games with Bill, the guests have written so that Dani and Bill can play together.
Sarah’s keen reviewer’s eye was on display Season 7 – Episode 9: This Escape Room Sucks! where she turned the idea of a dreadful vampire-themed escape room into a seriously clever game.
There is only one week left to vote for your favorite escape rooms as part of the 2020 Top Escape Rooms Project Enthusiasts’ Choice Award, TERPECA. This a community-driven endeavor to help surface the industry’s best escape rooms.
Note for 2020
Even if you haven’t played many real-life escape games this year, if you’re eligible to vote, you can and should add your voice.
A participant is required to have played at least 50 rooms to be eligible to rank rooms.
Due to the emergence of online escape rooms in 2020, you can include online games in your count of 50.
Also, online escape rooms have their own category this year; you’ll rank them separately.